Grant of Probate Application Explained

01 November 2022

When dealing with the estate of a loved one, the use of the many legal terms relating to the administration of an estate can make the process seem daunting.

In particular, the probate application process can be complex if it is the first time acting in this capacity.

An Executor (appointed to act in a Will) or an Administrator (where there is no Will and an estate passes by the rules of intestacy) takes personal responsibility for ensuring they carry out their duties correctly.  It is therefore important that they fully understand the steps they need to take in their role and their legal obligations.

We have created the below to provide guidance on the process for applying for the Grant of Probate and explain some of the legal terminology used.

What is a ‘Grant of Probate’?

A Grant of Probate is a legal document issued by the District Probate Registry (part of HM Courts and Tribunal Service) for estates where the deceased left a Will. It provides authority to the appointed Executor to administer the estate. Where the deceased died without a Will, this document is referred to as the ‘Grant of Letters of Administration’.  The general term for both of these documents is ‘Grant of Representation’.

Organisations will release some assets (depending on value) to an Executor or Administrator without a grant but generally an Executor or Administrator will need to present a grant to provide instructions in relation to the assets of the estate.

How do you apply for the Grant? What are Forms PA1P and PA1A?

The executor or administrator of the estate will need to complete a probate form, either the PA1P where the deceased left a Will or the PA1A where the deceased died without leaving a Will. It is important that the form is completed accurately and any issues with the original Will (such as problems with its condition) are addressed prior to submitting the form to prevent delays in the grant being issued.

How do I report the estate to HMRC? IHT205 and IHT400 explained

On making an application for the grant, the estate also needs to be reported to HM Revenue & Customs (‘HMRC’) for inheritance tax purposes regardless of whether there is an inheritance tax liability.  A grant will not be issued until this report has been received by HMRC. There are two forms, the IHT205, which is a reduced inheritance tax account, and the IHT400 which a full account. It is the Executor or Administrator’s responsibility to complete the forms correctly and to claim all available reliefs and exemptions available to the estate.  The IHT 205 is required for estates where the person died whilst living in the UK and the estate is not subject to tax. This is known as an ‘excepted estate’. The IHT 400 is required where there is IHT to pay or no tax to pay but the estate does not qualify as an excepted estate. The form is substantial and the main body of the form is supported by schedules that you complete depending on the circumstances of the case.

If you are applying for a Grant of Probate and need support, please get in touch with our friendly team on 01565 748 808 or email

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